The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

How I Turned Grocery Shopping Into A Daddy Vacation : The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 #3 July 17-23

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grocery shopping daddy vacation parenthood



Parenthood is more than just having a baby, it’s about finding ways to keep sane in a busy world of dirty nappies, feedings, work and lack of sleep. Things have changed as they should since we’ve become parents especially for myself since our son wants to do everything with me.

If you could imagine me coming home from work and attacked by a toddler while Mrs. CBB waves and says, “have fun” that’s how it all goes down. At times he’s like a television that has no off button but I appreciate his inclination to learn and talk non-stop from the time he wakes up until he falls asleep again.

grocery shopping alone motherhod jokesIt hasn’t been until the last year or so that we are really feeling the push from dealing with the terrible two’s. I read a meme that stated how parents who go grocery shopping alone attribute the experience to a vacation. Mrs. CBB laughed because some of the other moms she chats with has said the same thing.

I wanted to see if I got that same vacation feeling so I put myself up for the daddy vacation challenge.

When our son was a baby it was far easier to go grocery shopping since he would either be sleeping, drinking milk, looking around at new things and generally playful. Once age two hit there was nothing stopping our bundle of terror (in a good way) from holding back.

There was no more buggy because he won’t sit in it for longer than 10 minutes unless he’s exhausted. Sitting in a grocery trolley requires a treat but that doesn’t solve anything. Grocery stores who offer free fruit for kids are top of my list even though we pack snacks and a drink for him.

He wants to be free to walk which can become a struggle at times because he gets into things he shouldn’t and requires far more attention to keep him occupied. That’s our toddler, Mr.Mischief. Did I tell you about the time he thought it was fun to smash eggs? Probably not because I was embarrassed that he managed to do this while standing beside me. Focus daddy, focus.

Some parents have no choice but to bring their children grocery shopping. We have options but at the same time it’s nice to go grocery shopping without the hectic tug of war, floor kicks and cries for chocolate.

While vacationing in the UK it became clear how our son was changing his ways and understanding the rules put in place when we go shopping. Finally we are getting somewhere. He’s growing up and loves to learn and the grocery store has turned into an educational experience rather than a war-zone.

Lately he’s been interested in reciting the letters he sees on products or gets excited when he sees food he likes. This takes time and our parenting style has been about teaching wrong from right without loosing our cool in front of him.

Since arriving back in Canada from a holiday this past week I felt like I needed to recoup from the holiday with a holiday, so to the grocery store I went. My mission was a bit challenging as our refrigerator was empty.

No vegetables, no fruit, no milk, no bread, no cream.

Was I really going to feel like I was vacationing on a sunny beach, drinks flowing on demand and human interaction?

I wanted to find out for myself.

grocery shopping alone motherhood

What about fatherhood? We like to grocery shop too and many of us do the grocery shopping on our way home from work or exclusively with the kids. I’m up for taking a vacation.

One crucial element of my mission was to pin-point the amount of money spent and types of products purchased. In other words I wanted to compare my shopping habits with and without our little guy. How you planned to grocery shop with kids won’t be as efficient as if you were grocery shopping alone. You have to be in charge of the mission or you will end it and fast just to free yourself from toddler chaos.


Distracted grocery shopping


It’s amazing how easy our attention can become distracted while grocery shopping with kids that balancing a budget becomes second in line. Not necessarily everything but where you would save more you throw in the grocery list and just grab what you think you need.

All you want to do is end the experience and get out as fast as you can. I know all parents have or will go through this. We have and aren’t ashamed to say that we’ve spent more money then we should have but plan to ramp up our grocery savings moving forward. The race against time was tough but things are about to change. Something big is happening in our lives which I haven’t exposed yet.


Mission: Grocery Shopping Daddy Vacation


All parents should go grocery shopping alone if the opportunity arises and enjoy a vacation-like experience whilst saving money. It’s true…your body just goes into relaxation mode whether it’s at a grocery store or retail centre. At least that’s how my body felt, yours may differ. Don’t feel guilty that you are ditching your toddler for your daddy vacation because I’m sure he/she would rather be at the park playing.

Becoming a parent means you give up quiet time until your kids understand yes and no. That or when they are sleeping but by then you have two choices : Sleep or stay awake both of which you want to do but can’t. There’s no changing that but enjoying the feeling if only for an hour grocery shopping may just be the perk you need to invigorate your day. That or lots of coffee, exercise or even enjoying a beverage alone outside in the morning before the chaos begins.

Choose your parenting vacation time wisely.

For this trip I went to one grocery store (Zehrs-see shop below) where I was not able to price-match. I wanted to see how much money I could save and what products I needed but paid a bit more for. In this case it was the cream, apples and Pepperidge farm fish crackers that were priced more than we’d like to have paid.

Grocery shopping is challenging at times but it’s the vacation element that parents tend to crave, even if at the grocery store. Sounds daft I know so let’s see how I made out.

Imagine me rolling in the grocery store with my home-brewed coffee mug , Hawaiian shorts, sandals and sunglasses.


Peace and Quiet


The moment I walked into the grocery store I immediately felt calm run through my body. I didn’t have to push a buggy, hold our son’s hand, change diapers or worry that he was going to bust a move and get into trouble. It was just myself and I rather enjoyed that moment as I did the rest of the grocery shop. It was comparable to being alone on vacation or locked behind a bathroom door.


Take my time


During my daddy vacation there was no rushing around and I started to notice new products on display and was able to stop a customer from smashing into my cart. Leisure is bliss. One of the things many people fail to do is recognize their environment whether it be from rushing, using cell phones or simply a busy schedule.


Chat with other people


I bumped into a friend on my daddy vacation journey and had a small catch-up with him which never would have happened if our son was with me. Missing social interaction with other adults other than colleagues is a void for many new parents. Depending on your situation social media might be your only outlet to the world and shopping.

Either way grocery shopping has been a mecca for social interaction for years. Add a toddler to the mix and chatting becomes a simple hello and good-bye.


Score better deals


I had my daddy vacation eyes on for this shop which felt so relaxed even though I knew that turbulence was waiting for me at home. Not only will you find better deals but you will be far more alert to errors on your receipt and throughout the store. You might even take the time to do the math when deciding whether a product is a good deal or for comparison shopping. This is one reason so many people think that No-name brands are always cheaper than brand-names. Not always the case.

Related: Why you should always check your receipt before leaving the grocery store.

I know that many of you multi-task but I’m rubbish at it which means I’m susceptible to missing deals. I become distracted when our little guy is in tow but not always in a bad way. While grocery shopping alone I managed to find raisin bread 50% off and a host of other products deeply discounted. I even managed to look at the bottom shelves when I did go down an aisle (doesn’t happen often as I avoid aisle shopping).


Negotiate or barter


A quick trip to the market is a super way to negotiate or barter for food but highly unlikely at a grocery store unless you find close to expiry dates. I just happened to find 3 pots of PC Yogurt that were coming due this week and took the couple of minutes to find a staff member to see if we could lower the price. Not a problem.

Would I have looked at the expiry date if our son was with us?

Yes likely but if the situation was toddler take-over then no I’d just grab what I needed.

Most parents can relate.


Chose your vacation time wisely


If a grocery shopping vacation isn’t in the cards for you there are other options such as click and collect or home delivery etc. but you’ll only get weekly sales. I prefer to go inside the store to find reduced products which in turn allows us to spend more money on other foods to stretch our grocery budget.


Mission complete


At the end of my daddy vacation at the grocery store I was a bit torn about how I felt because I left feeling as if I was missing something, my family. I got over that quickly because I knew that it was grocery shopping and not a real holiday in Hawaii but understand the spa-like effect.

We tend to go grocery shopping as a team and although it can be chaos at times we still manage to stay under budget most months, gets deals and have a few laughs and cries. We decided that bringing our son grocery shopping is far too educational then leaving him at home. I won’t give up my daddy vacation shopping on occasion even if that means nipping in after work to grab a loaf of bread, dozen eggs and smash around for deals.

Moral of the story; Although parenting is rewarding and tough you must look after your well-being too.

Discussion Question: Do you notice a difference in savings when grocery shopping alone as opposed to with a child? What have you learned from your experiences grocery shopping with and with-out a child? What would you change or do differently?

Thanks for your comments.



July Grocery Game Challenge


Join in the 2017 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) fun and post your grocery shop in the comment section of each GGC blog post. Here are The Grocery Game Challenge rules to get you started and where you’ll also find a link for the 2017 GGC schedule. Please feel free to download, save and even print the schedule.

Post your shop and you can be next.

Please Note: We are going on holidays for 3 weeks. I will attempt to get the GGC posts up as scheduled BUT if not just save your shop and double post the next time I post. You will still get your ballots and it will keep you on track as well.

New monthly prize: See the Grocery Game Rules

July 2017 Blog Posts:


Free Money Saving Tools 2017


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

2014 Free Money Saving ToolsDon’t pay someone for these services, I’ve done the work for you along with some help from other amazing bloggers.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists that were created to get us on track to work towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2017


the ultimate grocery shopping guide cbbEverything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 5 years to create.

The Ultimate Grocery Shopping guide is ongoing with new informative money-saving posts added every month.

Even if you don’t live in Canada there are some amazing budget saving tips that will help put you on the path to more savings at the supermarket.

Share this guide with your friends and tell them about Canadian Budget Binder especially if they are struggling with their grocery budget.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.


2017 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2017: $3180 or $265/mth (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $265
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $265
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Points Plus Earned to date: 577,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0
  • Shoppers Optimum: Just under 850,000 Optimum points  (I will update this twice a year) $1500 worth of free stuff.

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Zweet to cash out : $18.25
  • Checkout51 to cash out : $24.50


Our Grocery Shop This Week



  • Milk $4.27 plus 1000 PC Plus points
  • 3 x PC Coconut Yogurt $3.49-50% $5.23
  • 2 x large eggs $1.97 ea
  • Organic mushrooms $2.99-50% $1.50
  • 6 x Neilson Cream $3.29 ea
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk $3.29
  • Dole Very Veggie $4.39-50% $2.20
  • 2 x Strawberries 1lb $2.00 ea
  • 2 x Kale $0.99
  • 2 x PC Raisin Bread $4.29- 50%  $4.3o
  • All-beef pepperoni $8.99
  • 2 x cases of PC water $1.77 ea
  • 2 x 1L bottles of Coke Zero and Diet Dr. Pepper $1.69 ea
  • 3 x Pepperidge Farm Goldfish $3.29 ea
  • PC Olive oil mayo $3.99
  • Bananas $1.59
  • Envy Apples $6.59
  • 2 x seedless cucumbers $0.99 ea
  • 6 x vine ripened tomatoes $2.72
  • Manns Snap Peas $5.99-50% $3.00
  • 4 x Allen’s Apple Juice

All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $265
  • Stockpile budget 2016 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $16.23
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $595.77
  • Total spent this week: $103.28
  • Total spent so far this month: $103.28
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: over
  • Total over/Under spend for the month:
  • Total left to spend for the month: $161.72
  • Total Spent To Date 2017: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $231.06+Feb $255.16+March ($5 budget increase) $263.60 + April $273.83+ May $257.15 + June $65.43  July $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We had a bit of a stock-up this week on items that were an immediate need even though they might not have been an ideal price. I would have liked to save more on the Pepperidge Farm Fish which our son loves and the envy apples. We’ll be loading up on deals as they start coming in to bring our pantry and freezer filled with essentials.



Coupons and Coupon Apps


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money. We’re finding less and less coupons in the stores these days. What are your thoughts? Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons?

If you notice I’m missing a valuable link please message me and I’ll get it added to the savings list below.

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2017?

Plus check out these other hidden areas online to get more coupons!!

If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.

  • Healthy Essentials Printable Coupons (Johnson and Johnson)
  • Danone Coupons Get up to $25 in coupons
  • Clorox Coupons Sign up to print coupons in the Clorox family which include Greenworks, Glad etc.
  • Kraft Canada Sign up and receive recipes and coupons by email
  • Printable Smart Source Coupons
  • Walmart Canada Printable Coupons
  • Proctor and Gamble PandG Sign up for printable coupons
  • Hidden Coupon Portals You Should know about – I found this over at Save a Loonie and you’ll want to sign up for notifications and check out the site so you get notified every time a hidden coupon is available from, Brandsaver, Smart Source etc.


Grocery Game Challenge 2017 FAQ’s


  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2017 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is the monthly prize and who can claim it?- The monthly prize is a $10-$20-$50 PC Loblaws Gift Card and for our out of country friends it’s $CDN via PayPal.  Please see GGC rules.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month?: The Grocery Game Challenge closes at midnight of the last Sunday of the last post for the month but you will still get a ballot when you post your shops even if they are late but I encourage you to stay on schedule. If you choose to post monthly or bi-weekly you will only get 1 ballot for that shop. It’s a proven fact the minute we stop doing something scheduled that we end up forgetting to do it altogether. Don’t let that be you! You can post your shops all month-long.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget includes such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014-2015 we no longer include such items in our grocery budget so we can see actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly our budget.
  • Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • Canadian Coupons:Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest  Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?:  If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

Nobody is perfect, heck we struggle with this part of our budget like many people do. This is why The Grocery Game Challenge is one of the most popular hang out spots for people who want to save money on groceries.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2017 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide! It’s FREE!

If you know a topic that should be discussed send me an email. If I use your topic I will put your name in a draw for a prize at the end of the year.

You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2017!


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